From The Turf To The Mat

Julian Connerton ’22, wins medal at Jiu-Jitsu tournament


Molly Hogan

Julian Connerton (‘22), poses at the podium after placing 2nd in the tournament

“I’ve done Kenpo Karate for the majority of my childhood so martial arts has always been in my life.” 


Nor’easters are used to seeing Julian Connerton (’22) wearing #32 representing UNE on the blue turf as a member of the football team. However, for the last six months, Connerton has shifted his focus from the gridiron to the world of mixed martial arts, 


“Once football became complicated with COVID I decided to start training MMA,” Connerton said, “I’ve always wanted to do it but football was something I loved and still love as well. But MMA gives me a different feeling.”


Connerton has been training at Evolution Athletix working on striking and grappling techniques to improve his fighting skills and pushing himself to be better than the day before, “There’s no teammates to rely on to score points for you. If you win, it’s because you worked hard and your coaches have a great game plan. I love the individual aspect of the sport.”


Last Saturday at a Grappling Industries tournament, Connerton was finally able to compete live against somebody from a different gym.


Although he has had experience in Karate tournaments, Connerton knew that the world of grappling and wrestling is a different ballgame. Going into the tournament, Connerton knew he was going to be pushed to his limit, but he was able to harness his nerves and use them to his advantage, 


“Pressure makes me perform better than if there was no one watching. One of the most important ways I handled my nerves was relying on my confidence and having a bunch of my friends and team there watching in support,” Connerton said. 


With about twenty friends and teammates from Evolution Athletix and UNE in attendance, Connerton let his confidence show on the mat. 


He finished with a 3-2 record in five fights, good enough for second place and a medal in his bracket. Connerton looked good in all of his matches, transitioning smoothly throughout the day and scored some points over some formidable opponents, even winning one match by submission via Guillotine Choke, 


“I practice the Law of Attraction, so I imagined myself on that podium,” Connerton said, “Yes, gold would’ve been better but it was meant for the holes in my game to be exposed to give me more aspects to sharpen up. I knew I was going to win matches, but I never forced it. I just went and had fun. Big shoutout to my coaches and teammates at Evolution Athletix as well.”


Connerton also stated that his favorite moment from last weekend was feeling at home again and being able to compete in front of the people who have been supporting him. As for what’s next, keep an eye out for Connerton as he looks to continue to ascend the MMA ladder, 

“I’m going to take MMA as far as I can, I have aspirations to make it to the highest level of competition. I plan to have a MMA fight in New England this summer.”